CANCER CURE & PREVENTION SERIES: Prostate Cancer: The Silent Killer

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In the next series of topics, we will explore specific cancers. The first of these is prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is not only a very common cancer but one of the few, where there are several choices of treatment for early to intermediate disease. In most cancer types, the oncologists taking care of the patient can provide a clear recommendation for what would be considered the “best” treatment. In prostate cancer, there is often no “best” treatment.Patients truly have choices to select from. In order to do that well, patients and their families need to be well informed about the nature of treatment and potential side effects. We encourage all men to have consultations with both an urologist as well as a radiation oncologist. Read further as Dr. Ramesh Krishnan explores the topic of prostate cancer.
-Vivek S. Kavadi, M.D.

By Dr. Ramesh Krishnan
Prostate cancer is a silent killer. It is the most commonly diagnosed cancer for men, other than skin cancer, in the state and country, and one of the leading causes of cancer deaths among men. However, this deadly disease often shows no symptoms, silently attacking its victims with no warning signs. This year alone, more than 233,000 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in the United States. The risk stretches down to Texas, where an estimated 17,991 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and 2,113 men are expected to die of the disease in 2014.

At Texas Urology Specialists, we work with patients fighting some of the deadliest diseases, including prostate cancer. The best weapons in the fight against cancer are prevention, early detection, and prompt treatment, which are all critical to survival. In fact, if prostate cancer is detected and treated early and before the cancer spreads, patients have a nearly 100 percent chance of survival after five years.

Although symptoms may not always appear, there may be warning signs. Symptoms include: a frequent need to urinate, especially at night; difficulty controlling urination or bowel movements; painful or burning urination; blood in urine or semen; difficulty having an erection; painful ejaculation; frequent pain or stiffness in the spine, hips, ribs, and other bones; and weakness or numbness in the legs or feet.

Prevention .

Prevention of prostate cancer is based on a set of good lifestyle choices, which can also reduce the risk for several other types of cancers and health conditions.

Healthy eating is paramount to healthy living, with nutrition, weight management, and regular exercise all essential elements. For a healthy, well-balanced diet, try eating five or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily and reducing consumption of animal protein.

Several studies have also pointed to regular exercise as a key preventive measure for reducing prostate cancer risk. Being overweight or obese can further complicate prostate cancer, so maintaining a healthy body weight is important.

Early Detection.

When detected early, the survival rate for prostate cancer is much higher than if detected at a later stage.

Men should discuss with their physicians the risks and benefits of prostate cancer screenings to make an informed decision about testing. Most men should consider yearly prostate screenings beginning at age 50. Men at high risk (African Americans and men with a family history of prostate cancer before age 65) should consider testing beginning at age 45. Consider screening at age 40 if more than one first-degree relative is diagnosed before 65. Prostate screenings can include the PSA (prostate-specific antigen) blood test and DRE (digital rectal exam).


Prostate cancer, depending on the stage, may be treated by different members of the cancer care team — urologists, medical oncologists, and radiation oncologists. Physicians will determine the most appropriate treatment for each patient, but possible treatment options include surveillance, surgery, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, and chemotherapy, or a combination.

The cancer care team at Texas Urology Specialists  offers an array of medical, urologic, radiation oncology, and surgical services, with each treatment program fully tailored to the individual patient’s needs. Texas Urology Specialists offers leading-edge radiation technology for treatment of prostate cancer, including intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT). IMRT enables radiation oncologists to precisely target tumor cells using 3D images that map out the tumors. Physicians use these images to localize treatment to the affected area, minimizing damage to surrounding tissue.

Some patients with prostate cancer may be treated with surgery. Radical prostatectomy is a surgical procedure that removes the prostate gland and surrounding tissue. The surgery is usually performed in cases where the cancer has not spread outside of the prostate gland.

At Texas Urology Specialists, patients have access to two types of this surgery: open radical prostatectomy and robotic-assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomy. Open surgery includes one incision to remove the prostate gland and surrounding tissue. Robotic-assisted surgery involves a series of smaller incisions, all controlled by a physician operating robotic arms. This minimally invasive procedure allows more precise control over the surgical instruments performing the operation. With the experienced surgeons at Texas Urology Specialists, the robotic surgery offers shorter hospitalization and faster recovery. Post-operative outcomes such as incontinence and erectile dysfunction are also much better with the robotic approach.

With nearly 18,000 Texas men expected to be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year, it’s essential that all men understand their risk and take steps to reduce it. It’s also critically important to remember that leading-edge treatment offers patients heightened survival rates, especially when detected early.

Spreading awareness is essential to the cause, so encourage everyone you know to reduce their risk and avoid becoming another victim of this silent killer.

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Dr. Ramesh Krishnan is an urologist with Texas Urology Specialists at Memorial Urology Associates–-Memorial City, 915 Gessner Rd., Suite 720 in Houston, Texas; Memorial Urology Associates–Katy, 23920 Katy Freeway, Suite 380 in Katy, Texas; and Memorial Urology Associates–West Houston, 18400 Katy Freeway, Suite 420 in Houston, Texas.